Once Upon a Time in Dublin West

By Hayden Moore

Last year, Ballyfermot celebrated the 70th anniversary of the first houses being built in the area, but indeed the history of the area goes back way further than that.

Now with it being 850 years since the invasion of Ireland by the Normans, a short play will detail how King Edward II appointed Piers Gaveston as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland with orders to disable the native Gaelic clans – the O’Tooles and the O’Byrnes – who had terrorised and raided Norman settlements for decades.

Once Upon a Time in Dublin West director Craig Gahan with writer Dylan Henvey compressor

‘Once Upon a Time in Dublin West’ director Craig Gahan with writer Dylan Henvey

Ballyfermot native Dylan Henvey has penned ‘Once Upon a Time in Dublin West’, a tale of adventure, intrigue and betrayal that starts in 1307 in the home of the Fitzwilliam family in Ballyfermot Castle when messengers arrive with a letter marked with the royal seal to say that Edward I is dead and his son, Edward II is to succeed him.

For one night only, the show will take place on Wednesday, October 16 at 7pm in Familibase Ballyfermot as part of the Dublin Festival of History 2019 and will explore how those key events changed the landscape of Ballyfermot forever.

Also featuring places like Kilmainham, Chapelizod, Clondalkin and Tallaght, Dylan explained how ‘Once Upon a Time in Dublin West’ debuted alongside a piece from Finbar Furey at Dublin International Literary Festival in 2018.

“The play was (in written form) part of the Dublin International Literary Festival 2018. It featured in an anthology to celebrate Ballyfermot’s 70th birthday, alongside pieces from Finbar Furey, Declan O’Rourke and Joey Duffy,” explained Dylan.

“Ironically the point of the play was to show Ballyfermot was in fact far older than 70 years.”

Dylan is a native of Ballyfermot but lived in Clondalkin throughout his childhood – he studied media in Ballyfermot College back in 2005.

He started writing again after joining Ballyfermot Writers Group two years ago and with his son, also called Dylan, recently starting school, the 32-year-old has been putting his skills to work.

Rehearsals of the characters Gabriel and William Fitzwilliam compressor

Rehearsals of the characters Gabriel and William Fitzwilliam

The largely untapped potential of local history is something that interests Dylan greatly and he has multiple projects that he is working on that will help those stories come to life.

“I have several other projects underway, including a play about the infamous Animal gangs in Dublin in the 1930s and 40s, Hencho and Lugs Brannigan – it’s like an Irish Peaky Blinders,” said Dylan.

“For next Halloween I am working on a play set around the legend(s) of the Hellfire Club. Buck Whaley and all those lads – great characters, great history, local history, local legends.”

But now, tickets to see Dylan’s play, which is being directed and produced by Craig Gahan from Jack of All Trades Productions and Billy Mangan from Basement Productions can be found at www.dublinfestivalofhistory.ie

‘Once Upon a Time in Dublin West’ starts at 7pm in Familibase Ballyfermot on Wednesday, October 16.

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